Director Wim Wenders on Dance and His New 3-D Film "Pina"

Dec 27, 2011

The much celebrated and awaited 3-D dance film "Pina" is finally getting released stateside. Keep an eye out for it as it begins to trickle out into a major US city near you. In the meantime, get your Pina 3-D fix and read this interesting interview with filmmaker Wim Wenders on ARTINFO. In it, Wenders talks about his decision to make the film after Bausch's death and the process of working with her company:

Your initial project was a film about dance, and it must have been difficult to rethink the film after Pina's death. Was it clear to you how to approach the film with Pina gone?

No. The only thing that was clear to me was that we had to cancel the movie and pull the plug and that I couldn't do it anymore. And that if it had taken us twenty years to finally make it, we just had waited too long. So on that very day when the call came that Pina had died the night before, I called all the financers, the co-producers, I called the entire crew and called it off. It was gone, and I wasn't going to touch it anymore. It was impossible to think it, because it had really been a project by the two of us, and Pina was necessarily in front of the camera and behind the camera, and we really had dreamt of it together for so long.

The dancers were very courageous. They even danced the very night when they and I heard about Pina's death — they went on stage and performed. In tears, but they performed, because they realized Pina would have wanted them to. And very soon afterwards they decided to continue as a company and fulfill the obligations that Pina had for tours and performances for the next three years, fulfill it all, and continue. So automatically two months later they started to rehearse the pieces that Pina had put on the agenda for the film. And that's when it dawned on me that not making the film was the wrong decision, and that maybe this was the last time these pieces were performed — who knew, nobody knew — and Pina's eyes were still on all of them. She had rehearsed some of the young dancers herself. And I slowly understood that we had to make the film after all. But we definitely had to make a very different film. The concept of the film with Pina was very, very different. It would have been an entirely different film, and it was up to us — the dancers and me — to together find the film we could make no longer with Pina, but for Pina.

Pina is known for working collaboratively with her company. Did the dancers also play a collaborative role in the rethinking of the film?

Absolutely. I mean, they were still in a state of shock, and when we had finished the first step of the shoot, which was recording the four pieces in their entirety, none of us knew how to continue. So we interrupted for several months until the spring and started to think and I saw them very often, I edited the film and every now and then I went to Wuppertal and we started to think, "how can we make a film out of this?" Because there were four pieces, which is not going to be a movie. And then it slowly dawned on us that we just had to continue with Pina's own working methods. And I had known a little bit about how Pina had worked, but I had never really gone through the process of an entire piece with her, and the performers told me how they had done it, how Pina had developed this catalogue of questions for each and every piece, thousands of questions — personal, private, general questions — around the subject of the piece. And she had asked each and every one specific questions and they're only allowed to answer with dance, with movement.

Click here to read the full interview.

"A Life-Changing Experience": Director Wim Wenders on Dance and His New 3-D Film "Pina"
by Kate Deimling, ARTINFO France
December 22, 2011

Tags: Wim Wenders, Pina Bausch, dance, dance theater, 3-D, film, dance on camera, Wuppertal

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